Anjali mudra is a specific placement of the hands at the heart centre (hṛdayam) signifying our potential for and intention to progress towards spiritual awakening.
The heart space here, is not the location of the physical heart, it is the space within the centre of the chest we point to when we say ‘I’, it is the seat of the mind, the place we feel our emotions.
In anjali mudra the outer rim of the hands, fingers, and base of hands touch, but the knuckles are apart from each other. The thumbs are held so their inside surface faces in, and their backs are out. The word anjali can be translated as ‘divine offering”; here it references the space created between the palms when Anjali mudra is correctly performed. This placement of the hands creates the shape of a lotus bud ready to open to the light of the sun and is representative of our hearts ready to open to the light of knowledge and practice.
Placing our hands in anjali mudra before our practice helps to focus our attention in the present moment. Practising the mudra during our āsana practice helps us to remain centred and grounded and reminds us that our practice is an act of offering and grace, not just placing our body in complex positions or a source of unhealthy pride.
It’s a simple gesture that has a profound effect.
As my teacher, A. G. Mohan says “attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”